Illusory arm movements activate cortical motor areas: a positron emission tomography study. (25/2578)

Vibration at approximately 70 Hz on the biceps tendon elicits a vivid illusory arm extension. Nobody has examined which areas in the brain are activated when subjects perceive this kinesthetic illusion. The illusion was hypothesized to originate from activations of somatosensory areas normally engaged in kinesthesia. The locations of the microstructurally defined cytoarchitectonic areas of the primary motor (4a and 4p) and primary somatosensory cortex (3a, 3b, and 1) were obtained from population maps of these areas in standard anatomical format. The regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured with (15)O-butanol and positron emission tomography in nine subjects. The left biceps tendon was vibrated at 10 Hz (LOW), at 70 or 80 Hz (ILLUSION), or at 220 or 240 Hz (HIGH). A REST condition with eyes closed was included in addition. Only the 70 and 80 Hz vibrations elicited strong illusory arm extensions in all subjects without any electromyographic activity in the arm muscles. When the rCBF of the ILLUSION condition was contrasted to the LOW and HIGH conditions, we found two clusters of activations, one in the supplementary motor area (SMA) extending into the caudal cingulate motor area (CMAc) and the other in area 4a extending into the dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) and area 4p. When LOW, HIGH, and ILLUSION were contrasted to REST, giving the main effect of vibration, areas 4p, 3b, and 1, the frontal and parietal operculum, and the insular cortex were activated. Thus, with the exception of area 4p, the effects of vibration and illusion were associated with disparate cortical areas. This indicates that the SMA, CMAc, PMd, and area 4a were activated associated with the kinesthetic illusion. Thus, against our expectations, motor areas rather than somatosensory areas seem to convey the illusion of limb movement.  (+info)

Predictors of adequacy of arteriovenous fistulas in hemodialysis patients. (26/2578)

BACKGROUND: Dialysis access procedures and complications represent a major cause of morbidity, hospitalization, and cost for chronic dialysis patients. To improve the outcomes of hemodialysis access procedures, recent clinical guidelines have encouraged attempts to place an arteriovenous (A-V) fistula, rather than an A-V graft, whenever possible in hemodialysis patients. There is little information, however, about the success rate of following such an aggressive strategy in the prevalent dialysis population. METHODS: We evaluated the adequacy of all A-V fistulas placed in University of Alabama at Birmingham dialysis patients during a two-year period. A fistula was considered adequate if it supported a blood flow of >/=350 ml/min on at least six dialysis sessions in one month. Fistula adequacy was correlated with clinical and demographic factors. RESULTS: The adequacy could be determined for 101 fistulas; only 47 fistulas (46.5%) developed sufficiently to be used for dialysis. The adequacy rate was lower in older (age >/= 65) versus younger (age < 65) patients (30.0 vs. 53.5%, P = 0.03). It was also marginally lower in diabetics versus nondiabetics (35.0 vs. 54.1%, P = 0.061) and in overweight (BMI >/= 27 kg/m2) versus nonoverweight patients (34.5 vs. 55.2%, P = 0.07). The adequacy rate was not affected by patient race, smoking status, surgeon, serum albumin, or serum parathyroid hormone. The adequacy rate was substantially lower for forearm versus upper arm fistulas (34.0 vs. 58.9%, P = 0.012). The adequacy of forearm fistulas was particularly poor in women (7%), patients age 65 or older (12%), and diabetics (21%). In contrast, upper arm fistulas were adequate in 56% of women, 54% of older patients, and 48% of diabetics. CONCLUSIONS: An aggressive approach to the placement of fistulas in dialysis patients results in a less than 50% early adequacy rate, which is considerably lower than that reported in the past. Moreover, the success rate of fistulas is even lower for certain patient subsets. To achieve an optimal outcome with A-V fistulas, we recommend that they be constructed preferentially in the upper arm in female, diabetic, and older hemodialysis patients.  (+info)

Control of cutaneous blood vessels in psoriatic plaques. (27/2578)

The aim of this study was to compare local blood flow in psoriatic plaques before and after provocations known to alter cutaneous vascular resistance, in order to determine whether plaque hyperemia is caused by a failure of normal vascular control mechanisms. Cutaneous blood flow was recorded using a laser Doppler flowmeter over plaque skin (plaque site) and clinically normal skin (nonplaque site) on the opposite arm, at least 5 cm away from the nearest plaque. It is important to note that most of the laser Doppler signal comes from the subpapillary plexus of the skin and only a small portion (2%-10%) is produced by capillary blood flow. In the psoriatic plaques the basal flux was between nine and 13 times greater than nonplaque skin. The biologic zero (a signal independent of perfusion, which also persists after complete proximal arterial occlusion) was also significantly greater at plaque sites compared with nonplaque sites. Sympathetic and local vasoconstriction in psoriatic skin was shown to be intact and responses to vasodilator tests were likewise intact, i.e., there was no failure of response to normal vascular control mechanisms, albeit some quantitative differences. Tests of vasodilatation indicated that, although basal flux is high in plaque compared with nonplaque skin, arterioles supplying plaque skin can dilate further, i.e., lesional arterioles are not normally maximally dilated but have a basal constrictor tone. Interestingly, the red cell flux at maximum dilatation in nonplaque skin is less than even the basal flux in plaque skin. This means that in plaque skin either there are more arterioles than in nonplaque skin, or there is chronic, structural widening of the existing arterioles in plaque skin.  (+info)

Dissociation of the pathways mediating ipsilateral and contralateral motor-evoked potentials in human hand and arm muscles. (28/2578)

1. Growing evidence points toward involvement of the human motor cortex in the control of the ipsilateral hand. We used focal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to examine the pathways of these ipsilateral motor effects. 2. Ipsilateral motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were obtained in hand and arm muscles of all 10 healthy adult subjects tested. They occurred in the finger and wrist extensors and the biceps, but no response or inhibitory responses were observed in the opponens pollicis, finger and wrist flexors and the triceps. 3. The production of ipsilateral MEPs required contraction of the target muscle. The threshold TMS intensity for ipsilateral MEPs was on average 1.8 times higher, and the onset was 5.7 ms later (in the wrist extensor muscles) compared with size-matched contralateral MEPs. 4. The corticofugal pathways of ipsilateral and contralateral MEPs could be dissociated through differences in cortical map location and preferred stimulating current direction. 5. Both ipsi- and contralateral MEPs in the wrist extensors increased with lateral head rotation toward, and decreased with head rotation away from, the side of the TMS, suggesting a privileged input of the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex to the pathway of the ipsilateral MEP. 6. Large ipsilateral MEPs were obtained in a patient with complete agenesis of the corpus callosum. 7. The dissociation of the pathways for ipsilateral and contralateral MEPs indicates that corticofugal motor fibres other than the fast-conducting crossed corticomotoneuronal system can be activated by TMS. Our data suggest an ipsilateral oligosynaptic pathway, such as a corticoreticulospinal or a corticopropriospinal projection as the route for the ipsilateral MEP. Other pathways, such as branching of corticomotoneuronal axons, a transcallosal projection or a slow-conducting monosynaptic ipsilateral pathway are very unlikely or can be excluded.  (+info)

Analgesic effect of adenosine on ischaemic pain in human volunteers. (29/2578)

This study was designed to measure ischaemic pain during and after infusion of adenosine. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, eight ASA 1 male volunteers received infusion of adenosine 100 micrograms kg-1 min-1 or placebo for 10 min. This was repeated 1 week later with the alternate infusion. Pain measurements were made during tourniquet-induced ischaemia in an exercising arm before infusion, during infusion and for 24 h afterwards. Pain was reduced significantly in the adenosine group compared with the saline group during infusion (median difference 20.8; 95% confidence interval 2.0-40). There was no significant difference in pain after infusion and there were no significant changes in cardiovascular variables. During infusion of adenosine, transient mild chest discomfort, shortness of breath and facial flushing occurred. We conclude that adenosine had measurable effects on ischaemic pain which were not sustained after discontinuation of infusion.  (+info)

Ulnar nerve pressure: influence of arm position and relationship to somatosensory evoked potentials. (30/2578)

BACKGROUND: Although the ulnar nerve is the most frequent site of perioperative neuropathy, the mechanism remains undefined. The ulnar nerve appears particularly susceptible to external pressure as it courses through the superficial condylar groove at the elbow, rendering it vulnerable to direct compression and ischemia However, there is disagreement among major anesthesia textbooks regarding optimal positioning of the arm during anesthesia. METHODS: To determine which arm position (supination, neutral orientation, or pronation) minimizes external pressure applied to the ulnar nerve, we studied 50 awake, normal volunteers using a computerized pressure sensing mat. An additional group of 15 subjects was tested on an operating table with their arm in 30 degrees, 60 degrees, and 90 degrees of abduction, as well as in supination, neutral orientation, and pronation. To determine the onset of clinical paresthesia compared to the onset and severity of somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) electrophysiologic changes, we studied a separate group of 16 male volunteers while applying intentional pressure directly to the ulnar nerve. Data are presented as mean (median; range). RESULTS: Supination minimizes direct pressure over the ulnar nerve at the elbow (2 mmHg [0; 0-23]; n = 50), compared with both neutral forearm orientation (69 mmHg [22; 0-220]; P < 0.0001), as well as pronation (95 mmHg [61; 0-220]; P < 0.0001). Neutral forearm orientation also results in significantly less pressure over the ulnar nerve compared to pronation (P < or = 0.04). The estimated contact area of the ulnar nerve with the weight-bearing surface was significantly (P < 0.0001) smaller in the supine position (2.2 cm2 [0.5; 0-9]; n = 50) compared with both neutral orientation (5.5 cm2 [5.0; 0-13]) and pronation (5.8 cm2 [6; 0-12]). With the forearm in neutral orientation, ulnar nerve pressure decreased significantly (P < or = 0.01; n = 15) as the arm was abducted at the shoulder from 0 degrees to 90 degrees. In the 16 male subjects tested, notable alterations in ulnar nerve SSEP signals (decrease > or = 20% in N9-N9' amplitude) were detected in 15 of 16 awake males during application of intentional pressure to the ulnar nerve. However, eight of these subjects did not perceive a paresthesia, even as SSEP waveform amplitudes were decreasing 23-72%. Two of these eight subjects manifested severe decreases in SSEP amplitude (> or = 60%). CONCLUSIONS: Extrapolating these results to the clinical setting, the supinated arm position is likely to minimize pressure over the ulnar nerve. With the forearm in neutral orientation, pressure over the ulnar nerve decreases as the arm is abducted between 30 degrees and 90 degrees. In addition, up to one half of male patients may fail to perceive or experience clinical symptoms of ulnar nerve compression sufficient to elicit SSEP changes.  (+info)

Effects of velocity on upper to lower extremity muscular work and power output ratios of intercollegiate athletes. (31/2578)

OBJECTIVES: Peak torque expresses a point output which may, but does not always, correlate well with full range output measures such as work or power, particularly in a rehabilitating muscle. This study evaluates isokinetic performance variables, particularly (a) flexor to extensor work and power output ratios of upper and lower extremities and (b) overall upper to lower extremity work and power ratios, in intercollegiate athletes. The purpose was to ascertain how speeds of 30 and 180 degrees/s influence agonist to antagonist ratios for torque, work, and power and to determine the effects of these speeds on upper to lower limb flexor (F), extensor (E), and combined (F + E) ratios, as a guide to rehabilitation protocols and outcomes after injury. METHODS: Twenty seven athletic men without upper or lower extremity clinical histories were tested isokinetically at slow and moderately fast speeds likely to be encountered in early stages of rehabilitation after injury. Seated knee extensor and flexor outputs, particularly work and power, were investigated, as were full range elbow extensor and flexor outputs. The subjects were morphologically similar in linearity and muscularity (coefficient of variation 4.17%) so that standardisation of isokinetic outputs to body mass effectively normalised for strength differences due to body size. Peak torque (N.m/kg), total work (J/kg), and average power (W/kg) for elbow and knee flexions and extensions were measured on a Cybex 6000 isokinetic dynamometer. With respect to the raw data, the four test conditions (F at 30 degrees/s; E at 30 degrees/s; F at 180 degrees/s; E at 180 degrees/s) were analysed by one way analysis of variance. Reciprocal (agonist to antagonist) F to E ratios of the upper and lower extremities were calculated, as were upper to lower extremity flexor, extensor, and combined (F + E) ratios. Speed related differences between the derived ratios were analysed by Student's t tests (related samples). RESULTS: At the speeds tested all torque responses exhibited velocity related decrements at rates that kept flexor to extensor ratios and upper to lower extremity ratios constant (p > 0.05) for work and power. All upper extremity relative torque, work, and power flexion responses were equal to extension responses (p > 0.05) regardless of speed. Conversely, all lower extremity relative measures of torque, work, and power of flexors were significantly lower than extensor responses. In the case of both upper and lower extremities, work and power F to E ratios were unaffected by speed. Moreover, increasing speed from 30 to 180 degrees/s had no effect on upper to lower extremity work and power ratios, whether for flexion, extension, or flexion and extension combined. CONCLUSIONS: Peak torque responses may not adequately reflect tension development through an extensive range of motion. Total work produced and mean power generated, on the other hand, are highly relevant measures of performance, and these, expressed as F to E ratios, are unaffected by speeds of 30 and 180 degrees/s, whether for upper or lower extremities or for upper to lower extremities. In this sample, regardless of speed, the upper extremity produced 55% of the work and 39% of the power of the lower extremity, when flexor and extensor outputs were combined. Injured athletes are, in the early stages of function restoration, often not able to exert tension at fast speeds. An understanding of upper to lower extremity muscular work and power ratios has important implications for muscle strengthening after injury. Knowledge of normal upper to lower extremity work and power output ratios at slow to moderately fast isokinetic speeds is particularly useful in cases of bilateral upper (or lower) extremity rehabilitation, when the performance of a contralateral limb cannot be used as a yardstick.  (+info)

An unusual case of thoracic outlet syndrome associated with long distance running. (32/2578)

An amateur marathon runner presented with symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome after long distance running. He complained of numbness on the C8 and T1 dermatome bilaterally. There were also symptoms of heaviness and discomfort of both upper limbs and shoulder girdles. These symptoms could be relieved temporarily by supporting both upper limbs on a rail or shrugging his shoulders. The symptoms and signs would subside spontaneously on resting. An exercise provocative test and instant relief manoeuvre, which are the main diagnostic tests for this unusual case of "dynamic" thoracic outlet syndrome, were introduced.  (+info)